A desire path or social trail is a path that has eroded into a natural surface due to people (or less common, animals) constantly travelling over it, usually because it is the easiest and shortest trail between two points.
Desire paths are often found along unpaved road shoulders, car parks, forests, parks and even through vegetation barriers alongside footpaths.
Many streets in older cities began as desire paths, evolving into the modern streets of today over the centuries.
In Finland, city planners are known to visit the parks they designed immediately after the first snowfall, so as to see how people walk through the park without a visible pavement. This can then be used to re-route the paths when needed.
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